The Hatters came from a goal behind to beat the O's
Luton Town 3
Smith 55, Bakinson 70, Hinds 86
Leyton Orient 2
Adeboyejo 37, Alzate 81
A much-improved second-half showing helped the Hatters’ development side come from behind to defeat Leyton Orient at Hitchin’s Top Field this afternoon and remain unbeaten in 2016-17.
After going behind late on in the first half to a Victor Adeboyejo strike, goals from Jonathan Smith and Tyreeq Bakinson put Andy Awford’s lads into the lead just after the midway point of the second period.
Orient drew level through Steven Alzate with less than ten minutes left to play, but substitute Freddie Hinds scored a late winner as he rounded Leyton goalkeeper Sam Sargeant and fired home.
It was a frustrating opening half for the Hatters, as their only real outlet was Josh McQuoid, who on several occasions drifted past opposing defenders, but the Town weren’t able to create any clear cut chances in the opening 25 minutes.
It was McQuoid’s hard work that was almost rewarded with the opening goal though. The ex-Bournemouth striker was brought down on the edge of the Orient box by Freddy Moncur and he picked himself up to take the free-kick, which he got over the wall, but Sargeant made easy work of it as it flew straight into his arms.
Jack James looked to give the Hatters an outlet down the left, and several of his crosses caused the visitors some problems, but they managed to clear any danger apart from one header from Isaac Vassell that Sargeant dealt with.
With eight minutes left of the first half, Adeboyejo gave the east Londoners the lead. After sustained pressure from Andy Edwards’ side, Moncur crossed from the right and Adeboyejo was able to place his effort beyond Gooch and into the top left corner of the Hatters’ net.
Orient should have had a two-goal lead going into the break, but Gooch – who had to be called up late from the training ground to replace Craig King, who was unwell – was equal to Josh Koroma’s volley at the far post.
Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second half, as Orient looked to carry on in the same vein as they had left the first.
Gooch did fantastically well to deny Moncur five minutes after the restart, as the O’s midfielder managed to get a shot away just inside the Hatters box. It was curling towards the bottom left corner, but Gooch managed to get fingertips to it and push it away.
The Hatters finally drew blood with 55 minutes on the clock. Zane Banton managed to trick his way past his defender, flick the ball into Smith eight yards from goal and he smashed it into the bottom left corner to draw the game level.
With an hour gone, Awford brought off first-teamers Smith, McQuoid, Vassell and Craig Mackail-Smith, replacing them with Hinds, Jack Snelus, Kitan Sorunke and Arthur Read.
It was the introduction of Hinds that turned the game in the favour of the Hatters, the young striker hitting the woodwork within four minutes of coming on, Sargeant grateful for the ball rebounding off the inside of a post and into his arms after being caught flatfooted by a wicked deflection.
Hinds played no part in the second goal though, as it was a sumptuous solo effort from Bakinson that gave Awford’s side the lead for the first time in the match. The 17-year-old darted down the right before skipping past his defender, cutting in on his left and curling home from the edge of the visitors’ box to put Town 2-1 in front.
Orient pulled the game level with a smart piece of play of their own, as goalscorer Adeboyejo turned creator as he picked out the lively Alzate, who was able to pick his spot from the same distance Smith had earlier, making it 2-2 with nine minutes to play.
With less than five to go, an unlikely creative source in Frankie Musonda played a perfect ball over the top of the Orient defence, which Sargeant tried to race out to stop, but Hinds got there first. He rounded the keeper and passed the ball from the edge of the box into an empty net to give his side the win.
Luton XI: Gooch, Bean, Jones, Bakinson, Musonda, James (Murray 75), Smith (Snelus 60), McQuoid (Sorunke 60), Vassell (Hinds 60), Mackail-Smith (Read 60), Banton.
Subs: Murray, Read, Snelus, Hinds, Sorunke